Friday, November 2, 2007

Let's Start With The Basics

I've had the chance to converse with a wide variety of people who call themselves "feminists" during the course of my life. Since I started paying attention, I have noticed that I hear variations of the same phrase over and over, usually in response to some injustice I've pointed out as being done in the name of feminism: "But that's not real feminism, and he or she is not a real feminist." It begs the question. What is real feminism, and what is a real feminist?

I've done some googling to try and find out, and I will post what I found after I've compiled it. It seems, though, that it's a word that has a somewhat malleable definition. Fair enough. It's different for everyone. But surely there are some very basic ideas at the bottom of nearly everyone's definition of feminist and feminism.

That's where I'd like to begin this conversation. I would like to see how the people who call themselves feminists define their ideology, and where all of these individual feminisms merge.

As this is a very volatile subject, here are some ground rules:

1. This is not going to be a discussion about the origins of feminism, or how women were historically viewed and treated, or whether we ever needed a women's movement. None of us has a time machine. We have to live in the now, and that's what we need to talk about. The now. It's pointless to go over the history when we can't change it.

2. I am not going to moderate comments at this time, nor will I censor them. However, I would like to see this discussion remain civil. Personal attacks are a no-no. If you have a problem with someone's position, address the position, not the person. This goes for everyone.

3. There is a difference between opinion and fact. If you present an opinion as a fact, be prepared to prove it. This goes for everyone.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I reserve the right to add, delete, and/or change the rules. It's my blog ;)

So, feminists, why do you call yourselves that?

34 comments:

Muse said...

While I'm not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, I still feel a need to contribute what I feel are the key fundamentals of the idea that is feminism.

I think true feminism seeks equality. The arguement being that in nature there is a masculine and a feminine each with its place and purpose. Each is essential to the continuance of a species. And since that is true then, in the case of advanced species such as humans, neither men nor women should be considered more essential than the other. Women should be considered of equal importance in our society in relation to that of the men. Now where this went wrong was that they failed to remember this: in nature the masculine and feminine each have their place and PURPOSE. Sure it's all our place and we should share in it equally, but they forgot the purpose. They failed to properly incorporate the purpose of women on the human tribe.

They instead deviated and said that since women were equal in importance they should also be equal in performance. In essence, women are free to fulfill the same purposes as a man.

And that is where I feel the idea started to deviate from what is a good idea in theory, but poorly executed much like communism. Oddly enough one of the biggest feminists in our world today is a communist.. hmm..

literarycritic said...

"So, feminists, why do you call yourselves that?"

For me, this is actually a very complex question. Even if I were to give an answer to you right now, I would almost assuredly leave something out, or misstate something. The answer to the question changes as I change. And I change all the time.

In some ways, I feel that I was born a feminist -- that is, I did not "become" one. This may sound odd, because I only discovered what is actually called "feminism" when I was in my mid-teens, but I never, from as far back in my life as I can remember, believed in gender roles.

By "gender roles," I mean standards of appropriate behavior that are different for different people based only on what's between your legs.

And by not believing in gender roles as a child, I mean that I never thought that being what was called "a girl" was important. It didn't make sense to me. People talked about what being "a girl" meant, but I just looked at them in total befuddlement, because as far as I could tell, I was a person. I knew the biological differences between me and boys, but I never, ever believed that those had anything to do with how I felt about things, how I saw things, who I was. I was just me; being "a girl" was incidental, an accident of biology, a chance occurrence that for some reason everybody else seemed to think was terribly important.

So that's why, when I read Betty Friedan (laugh if you want) when I was 15, it blew my mind, because I realized that it could've been me, and the fear was overwhelming. I mean, if I'd been born 50 years earlier! If my mother hadn't worked! My horror at the way people thought that telling women what/who they were, based on having a vagina, right from the starting gate was just fine (like people tried to do to me -- though I never took them seriously) was bad enough -- but it used to succeed! I never, ever wanted that to be me. So I set about finding out all I could about the ways it used to be done, so that I could make sure that they couldn't slip that sh*t in while I wasn't paying attention. I decided to be on my guard, because, as I saw it, there were forces at work in society that would restrict me whenever and however they could, and even though it wasn't anybody's fault, I resolved to do whatever I could to make sure that that didn't happen to me. Because it only works if you listen; it only works if you believe it.

I'm just trying to be frank. I could talk for hours about particular reasons why I call myself a feminist and what specific positions my research has resulted in, but that stuff is just the surface. Underneath, that up there is the reason that I call myself a feminist. Make of it what you will.

gwallan said...

Muse said...
I think true feminism seeks equality.

I would therefore contend that "true" feminism exists in only a few tiny little places and groups. Modern feminism tends to advocate for differing treatment based on gender and only seeks equality (and always of outcome rather than opportunity) in desirable instances. Note there are no affirmative action programs to get women into mines or road gangs or building crews. There are likewise no affirmative action programs to encourage men into teaching, childcare or nursing.


@literarycritic
Do you still believe Betty Friedan? Do you still believe the views presented by Friedan and her peers to be accurate? Is a slanted view of a historical, and very short lived, culture an appropriate basis on which to make decisions and take actions in the current culture?

I realized that it could've been me, and the fear was overwhelming. I mean, if I'd been born 50 years earlier! If my mother hadn't worked!

Fifty years ago a ping pong ball bouncing out of a barrell (plus possession of a penis) was enough to consign me to death in a foreign jungle. This isn't true any more. Now it's a desert instead of a jungle.

My horror at the way people thought that telling women what/who they were, based on having a vagina, right from the starting gate was just fine (like people tried to do to me -- though I never took them seriously) was bad enough -- but it used to succeed!

My horror at the way people think that telling men who(and what) they ARE, based on having a penis, right from the starting gate IS just fine...is bad enough -- but it succeeds to this day through a combination of a chivalrous culture, which dare not upset women, and feminist deceit.

literarycritic said...

gwallan,

Fine. That doesn't negate what I said, though.

As for Betty Friedan, I haven't read any critiques of her work, so I can't say I disagree with her. I don't believe anything wholeheartedly except for what I know of myself. And even that I'm usually somewhat skeptical of, just much, much less.

Mike said...

I think there are two points that need to be made about an attempt to define feminism.

First, feminism arose because of the industrial revolution, and really took off in the information age. The shift in, and expansion of, economic possibilities has opened up possibilities of independence for women that never existed before.

Secondly, feminism is a subset of liberal democratic humanist ideology. So it's derivative. It isn't a philosophy that stands on its own. So any attempt to seriously define it is going to fail -- you're going to end up with 20 perspectives that only have a shallow unity beyond their liberal democratic humanism.

Generic feminism exists because of an economic and political status quo. It isn't the cause of anything. Anyone that rails against feminism is following the specious same line of thinking that leads some to complain about how Jews control the world.

literarycritic said...

Secondly, feminism is a subset of liberal democratic humanist ideology. So it's derivative. It isn't a philosophy that stands on its own.

Yes!

So any attempt to seriously define it is going to fail -- you're going to end up with 20 perspectives that only have a shallow unity beyond their liberal democratic humanism.

I think Mike has hit the nail on the head here.

I've seen feminists that are politically conservative, but insofar as they are feminists, they are usually liberal; e.g., pro-life feminists generally take a lot of flak for their position, not because it's conservative, but because it doesn't fit with liberal democratic humanism.

Different aspects of what we call "feminism" are going to be important to different people. For me, it's primarily about deconstructing gender roles/dichotomies. The "most important issue" is always going to be different depending on who you talk to. Everybody has a different set of priorities. The only thing they have in common, as Mike said, is the liberal democratic humanism, with a particular focus on issues involving women.

The fact that you can't pin down what feminism is doesn't have anything to do with a feminist conspiracy to keep you from finding out what it is, or a fear of copping to what feminism "really" consists of; you can't pin down a definition because there really isn't one definition.

Just doesn't exist.

Steve said...

I like Christina Hoff Summers' distinction between equity feminism and gender feminism

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_feminism

literarycritic said...

I agree that the distinction is useful, on a purely linguistic level. But I think Hoff Summers makes the same mistake that some MRAs make: she thinks that a critique of gender roles/gender socialization has a necessary relationship to legal/political action. Often, it doesn't. Especially in feminist theory circles, this is theory, and a discussion of lived practice; it's not a legal or political ideology (e.g., communism, or socialism), but a theoretical stance based on the questioning of traditional gender binaries. (This is where the liberal democratic humanism Mike referenced comes in.) The theoretical stance often leads to political views/political action, but the two aren't intrinsically linked.

literarycritic said...

To be clear, just so no one gets confused, the above post is about "gender feminism," not "equity feminism." Equity feminism is explicitly legal/political.

Liberal democratic humanism is a theoretical stance, too, not necessarily a legal/political ideology. It's a useful distinction.

barsin said...

Feminism is about women's rights. Full stop. Not equal rights. Its actual definition depends upon which woman you're talking to: whatever rights she'd like to have, thinks she deserves, or believes would be a good idea for everyone -- that's feminism. Whatever stretch of the imagination it takes to justify these desires, whatever facile contortions of logic and probity, whatever grievous abuses of history and science -- that's what women's studies are for.

It's no mystery that there's no easy, simple definition of feminism. Women want different things.

Some want to be able to point at a man and see him ruined. Others want to have him support them and be protected by him. It's the wicked witches of the west vs the more traditional witches of the north. Then there's the mysterious wicked witches of the east, wondering how all their well-laid plans for "true-equality" went so damned wrong. And of course, don't forget about the southron witches who just want to shake their moneymakers and call it liberation, as if they weren't wicked since before Moses. There are as many different kinds of feminism as there are points on a compass.

To reason against it, one might as well coat himself in birdseed and dive into a henhouse.

To sum up, feminism is a great big mess of women's various desires, with a victim complex worse than the Germans before WWII. "Women" being far too broad a swathe to cut any sensible movement from, and victims hardly being a term I'd apply to women, the way they've run men around since time immemorial.

Happy Bullet said...

A feminist using the well trodden and banal argument "A true feminist would not do that", is simply being disingenuous.

The phrase "A true feminist would not do that" is a shining example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

Argument: "No feminist is anti-male."
Reply: "But Andrea Dworkin and the leadership of NOW are anti-male."
Rebuttal: "Yes, but no true feminist is anti-male."

No True Scotsman Fallacy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Argument: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
Reply: "But my uncle Angus, who is a Scotsman, likes sugar with his porridge."
Rebuttal: "Aye, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

It's a logical fallacy. A feminist is someone who identifies as a feminist including the vast majority of them that are anti-male.

Yohan said...

barsin said...
Feminism is about women's rights.

Correct, feminism is an ideology of demanding advantages solely out of the justification, that these advantages will benefit a certain group of women or girls.

This does not necessarily mean equality. There is no consideration about the position of men including boys regardless their age.

Feminist literature published by leading feminists is full with hateful comments against anything, which might be considered as male-related.

It should be pointed out, that feminism offers benefits only to certain groups of women - the huge majority of them are of Caucasian race, have a higher education and are financially good off.

Feminism does not offer any family-support for straight married women with children, it offers nothing to poor foreign women especially to those of different race like Asians, it offers nothing in relation to elderly care despite most old people are women...

A person who is into equal rights for everybody might maybe be called 'humanist' but surely not 'feminist'.

Steve said...

Hoff Sommers argues that gender feminists advocate preferential treatment and portraying women as victims.

I think Barsin makes a nice point -a woman's version of (gender) feminism will be about whatever preferential treatment she is currently seeking.

Seeking preferential treatment because of gender is the very definition of gender feminism and thus the term encompasses all forms of rent seeking (the term economists use for asking the government to legislate the transfer of resources to you rather than earn them through market exchange).

The interesting part is why victimhood is such a powerful weapon for getting what you want (if you are a woman). Are men socialized or do they have an innate drive to protect victims?

Steve said...

Literarycritic:

I don't see your distinction between theory (including lived experience) and practice (legal/political action) as an important one. In what way do you think this is important?

Hoff Summers' does not argue there is a necessary connection between theory (by which I think you mean stories of victimhood/patriarchy) and legal action.

However, her theory nicely predicts that the legal action of gender feminists will be predicated on a victimhood story (or discourse if you prefer) that is used to go beyond a simple quest for equality (of opportunity).

I think the "liberal democratic humanism" excursion is also rather odd. The notion of basic rights (the universal rights of man or humanity) is an enlightenment concept and underlies equity feminism (i.e. equal rights for all). Is this not the essence of "liberal democratic humanism"?

How are notions of patriarchy and victimhood in the liberal democratic tradition (of the enlightenment)?

literarycritic said...

happy bullet: That hasn't even happened here, so good job laying out the fallacy, but it really isn't relevant to this discussion.

I don't see your distinction between theory (including lived experience) and practice (legal/political action) as an important one. In what way do you think this is important?

It's a very important distinction, and I would actually take issue with your breaking it down into "theory" and "practice," as I don't see those as the choices. I see the choices as "theory/lived practice" and "legal/political action." And yes, the two are separate. Much of feminist theory (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_theory) is based upon theory and/or lived practice, which is a much less public cultural level than the legal/political realm. There are exceptions, of course -- feminist legal theory, etc. -- but sex/gender theory, and critiques of sex/gender theory, which make up the main bulk of modern feminist theory, are not explicitly legal/political. The distinction is valid in this context, and in many others.

Hoff Summers' does not argue there is a necessary connection between theory (by which I think you mean stories of victimhood/patriarchy) and legal action.

By feminist theory, I do not mean "stories of victimhood/patriarchy." Nice try, though. It's not that simple.

As for Hoff Summers: She doesn't understand what the purpose of deconstruction is and how it fits into a larger intellectual approach ("I consider deconstruction a very anti-intellectual approach because it reduces literature, it condenses it for the student and a good teacher should enlarge it and make it more exciting"), she doesn't understand many of the critiques of the sex/gender system that have been made by the so-called "gender feminists" ("Women are empowered whenever they act like men, according to the feminists. I find that interesting. They have decided that what makes women powerful is the masculine mode and if women stay home and have children or women prefer more traditionally feminine styles of dress, the feminists are very critical of that, aren’t they?"), and she definitely does see gender feminism as being about action ("... while describing 'gender feminism' as the action of accenting the differences of genders for the purposes of creating privilege for women in academia, government, industry, or advancing personal agendas"). Yes, she sees it as action-based and politically motivated.

However, her theory nicely predicts that the legal action of gender feminists will be predicated on a victimhood story (or discourse if you prefer) that is used to go beyond a simple quest for equality (of opportunity).

What is with your emphasis on "victimhood"? Where are you getting your info? If you're only reading critiques of feminism, you probably don't have much basis to say that gender feminism is essentially about victimhood. I can tell you right now that it's not. It's a discourse on our culture: how it's genderised, how it works on individual women, how it frames discourses on women, etc. That can result in stories of victimhood, but they are not the point. I personally don't see them as being nearly as valid for feminist theory as cultural critique, which is the actual basis for feminist theory.

I think the "liberal democratic humanism" excursion is also rather odd. The notion of basic rights (the universal rights of man or humanity) is an enlightenment concept and underlies equity feminism (i.e. equal rights for all). Is this not the essence of "liberal democratic humanism"?

How are notions of patriarchy and victimhood in the liberal democratic tradition (of the enlightenment)?


"Equal rights for all" is an overly simplistic reduction of liberal democratic humanism. Especially when we cross the line into theory, liberal democratic humanism is not as much about "rights" (i.e., legal, political, judicial, etc. rights) and becomes more about fair treatment, fair viewpoints, and so on. The Enlightenment focus on justice goes beyond the concept of "rights." So that's where the liberal democratic humanism comes in.

Factory said...

As Forrest Gump's Mom used to say, "stupid is as stupid does". This applies in this case as well, although some may take issue with the "stupid" characterization. Actions speak louder than words, always, and in general women are much better at hiding thier true motivations on an extended basis than men are. At least verbally.

The notion that feminist theory and feminist action have no relation to each other is about as spurious an argument as one can make, and arguing otherwise is fooling no-one. Feminism is a female-centric socio-political movement, the latter-day fracturing into splinter groups is merely a way of remaining "feminist" while still distancing oneself from less desireable portrayals of the "movement".

I don't believe there truly is much distinction between "gender" feminism, and "independant" feminism, or any other flavour for that matter. The shifting ground is a deliberate attempt to confuse the issues confronted, which is precisely why there is no way to define feminism.

Let's not forget that the current PC approach to language was inculcated into our society from feminist circles, and anyone who has a modicum of reasoning can see that feminist "newspeak" is designed solely to make critical analysis as close to impossible as can be achieved. If you cannot define a thing in language, you cannot oppose a thing in language.

So, to approach this subject, I deny the existance of different feminist streams as a facade to limit debate.

If you're a feminist, you're a feminist...plain and simple. Hell, no one is trying to carve up , say, the notion of conservatism or liberalism into several flavours thereof (formally at least)...even though nuance is apparent throughout the political spectrum.

My advice, call it what it is...feminism. To do any less is disingenuous at best, deliberately misleading at worst.

literarycritic said...

If you cannot define a thing in language, you cannot oppose a thing in language.

So, to approach this subject, I deny the existance of different feminist streams as a facade to limit debate.


Then there is no point in talking to you about anything. You are way too comfortable redefining your (self-declared, remember) "opponents" just so you can fit them within your pre-fab agenda. That's fine, but keep in mind that you are the one shutting down debate by using intellectually dishonest tactics.

literarycritic said...

Hell, no one is trying to carve up , say, the notion of conservatism or liberalism into several flavours thereof (formally at least)...even though nuance is apparent throughout the political spectrum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism#Schools_of_conservatism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism#Splits_within_liberalism

Mike said...

Feminism is about women's rights. Full stop. Not equal rights. Its actual definition depends upon which woman you're talking to: whatever rights she'd like to have, thinks she deserves, or believes would be a good idea for everyone -- that's feminism.

No, what you're describing is an aspect of liberal democratic humanism. Feminism is a subsection of that, so you are correct, in a way. But you're describing the vast majority of political thinking that happens in the west. To pin this kind of thinking on feminism, and to say that it defines feminism, is shallow bad faith.

These constant accusations against feminists of victim hood are tricky. It is easy to find a dozen examples of whining on the part of self-identified feminists. But to claim that this is an essential aspect of feminism is an unprovable empirical assertion. It's the reverse of the No True Scotsman thing:

"All feminists have trait X."
"But feminist 1 has trait non-X."
"No, all feminists have trait X."

As an aside... I've never seen so much blatant and open whining and self-victimization as I have on MRA blogs. Like "Feminist Apocalypse" - that blog has every single trait that many assign to feminists, in spades. It's hilarious. Sometimes I wonder if a lot of MRA blogs are intentional satires.

How are notions of patriarchy and victimhood in the liberal democratic tradition (of the enlightenment)?

The insistence one rights and equality. Based on the idea that persons stand apart from the world as self-sufficient, autonomous subjects, with (non-calculable) dignity rather than (calculable) value.

Steve said...

Mike, you are a classic example of a knight in shining armor out to save the damsel in distress. To you, "liberal democratic tradition" is about rights and equality (despite what litcritic says) - I have no problem with that - but in your view, women don't have equal rights therefore they need resucing.

However, this is the ESSENCE of equity feminism. Most guys don't have a problem with this. If it were true.

What guys DO have a problem with is the recourse to an imaginary entity called 'the patriarchy' to explain how women are secretly oppressed. They thus need rescuing from the "patriarchy". (Even guys need rescuing from the "patriarchy" in this worldview.)

Domestic violence is thus the "patriarchy" seeking to control women (despite the evidence now supporting the view that men and women are equally likely to initiate DV).

Why are women's wages at 77% of men? Why it must be the "patriarchy". Despite evidence that women often make choices that restrict their earning potential. (Oh, I forgot, the patriarchy made them make those choices too).

The problem with the patriarchy construct is that is it not falsifiable. As long as women's outcomes are different from men's on some dimension then the patriarchy is to blame - there is not one piece of evidence you can present to make a committed feminist think otherwise. And that is what separates rationality from ideology. (Do we ever see feminists discuss the matriarchy and how it oppresses men in the opposite direction - shouldn't they be interested in this if they are seekers of equality?)

This is what I, and others, mean by victimhood - gender feminists are always "victims" of the patriarchy when they don't get their way. Until they can say that inequality exists both ways they will continue to be hypocrites in my mind.

Mike said...

Mike, you are a classic example of a knight in shining armor out to save the damsel in distress.

This is always the line. This is what MRAs always say to me, but its totally and utterly ridiculous. Nothing I said could lead you to believe this about me. It's the same robotic response you all offer, no matter what I say.

You really have no idea what I think about feminism, or liberal democratic humanism, or LDH for short. Fundamentally, LDH is a form of nihilism. Nihilism! And since generic feminism is a subset of LDH, it's a form of nihilism too.

My opinion of feminism involves a deeper and more pervasive critique than any whining on the part of MRAs will ever achieve.

I don't ever bother saying that stuff on these blogs, because what's the point? I'd have to spend way more time than I care to invest in explaining what I mean by nihilism. I'm sorry, but I just don't have the time or the inclination to explain myself on this, so asking is pointless. I only bring it up in exasperation, in the face of all these ridiculous claims MRAs make about me and any other guy that defends feminism.

Steve said...

My apologies Mike, I interpreted your comments to mean that you supported the Enlightenment notion of rights-based equality.

Instead, you tell me that feminism (and all LDH) is nihilistic. Wonderful! And you have such a superior and subtle critique that you can't explain your worldview to mere mortals such as myself. You can't even tell me if you support feminism or not (or whether you are a nihilist or not). On the one hand you have this devastating critique and, on the other hand, you describe yourself as a "defender" of feminism.

Perhaps you are an Active Nihilist. You believe in nothing, so act accordingly and show it. Give no thought to your authority and convention when acting, follow whatever random whim you choose. Act like you are contradicting yourself, because when you believe in nothing there is no contradiction.

At the end of the day, philosophy is all about ACTION. Ante up Mike!

Could it be that:

a) the potential for an ideology to create "false consciousness" problematizes the notion of objective truth
b) Therefore we can never know the truth
c) Therefore all truth statements may be true
d) Therefore all truth statements have equally standing
d) Therefore if I say the patriarchy exists it is just as valid as saying it does not.
e) Therefore, the patriarchy exists.

Anyone see any problem with this line of logic? Oops, silly me, logic is just my special way of knowing - logic and illogic are equally valid.

Steve said...

Literary Critic:

I lost a lengthy post of liberal democratic humanism (LDH). Sigh.

Basically,

LDH seems to be code for deconstructionism - the idea that preferences/choices in society are socially constructed by those in power leading to "false consciousness" and a tendency to act against one's own self-interests.

You would be wrong in assuming that Hoff Summers (and myself) are not aware of this aspect of LDH.

The problem is that all truth claims become relative (see previous post)leading to Stephen Colbert's state of "truthiness". Truthiness describes things that a person claims to know intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. (Somewhat similar to your "lived experience" form of theorizing).

Here are some truthy claims that are not supported by evidence:
Domestic violence is predominantly directed against women
Women work two shifts - men don't
Women earn 77% of men's salaries for the same job
Most dads are deadbeat dads
etc.

Do I have to spell out the immense dangers of making social, legal, and political policy on the basis of truthiness rather than the "reality principle"?

Mike said...

And you have such a superior and subtle critique that you can't explain your worldview to mere mortals such as myself.

No, what I said is I don't have the time or the inclination. There's a difference. If you'd like to do some reading, I don't mind recommending some stuff.

On the one hand you have this devastating critique and, on the other hand, you describe yourself as a "defender" of feminism.

I was unclear. Sorry. Any defense of feminism I offer is more of a default position, because I think they say some correct things, even if the correctness is kinda shallow. MRAs don't even get to the level of shallow correctness.

That's a nice attack on vulgar Marxism you've got there, what with the catch phrase "false consciousness" and all, but I haven't seen anyone on this thread say anything remotely Marxist. Actually, I don't think I've ever personally read or seen anyone spout vulgar Marxism. So who are you shadow boxing?

LDH seems to be code for deconstructionism

I don't understand why you say this. Deconstructionism would be resolutely opposed to LDH. It is an explicit form of anti-humanism.

Sociopathic Revelation said...

'Like "Feminist Apocalypse" - that blog has every single trait that many assign to feminists, in spades. It's hilarious.' - Mike

I'm flattered. BTW, you're banned from my blog, but I think you probably guessed that. It's a merit system over there, and you tripped up more than once. Don't like it? Tough. Find somewhere else to spread your pseudo-intellectual bitchin' and rationalizations for defending feminism. KellyMac has provided that for you. I won't. Despite all of your academic background, you're still a attention whore in that trite garb.

I'm also more MGTOW than MRA, but it's interesting how you whine about all feminists not being the same, and you fail to make that distinction about anti-feminists or those critical of feminism. Bravo. Look up "logical fallacy" when you're not too busy hiding beyond why you won't explain philosophical and political concepts that aren't too terribly difficult to grasp for most MGTOWers. Chances are we were exposed to similar texts you were in undergrad sessions, and didn't stumble over the offerings, either.

"This is always the line. This is what MRAs always say to me, but its totally and utterly ridiculous."

Steve is right, you're a cyberspace knight in shinning armor. Keep living in denial, if that's your choice. As you state "Any defense of feminism I offer is more of a default position . . . " are still adhering to the faith for the sake of it, or are you too apprehensive of exploring critiques of feminism that may hold some weight?

"I'd have to spend way more time than I care to invest in explaining what I mean by nihilism. I'm sorry, but I just don't have the time or the inclination to explain myself on this, so asking is pointless."

Cop out, and many of us already know what nihilism entails. Since Steve is already taking you to task, I'll let him continue doing a fine job of it.

Note---I will engage with others more civil in communication if they'd like when I get the time (I'm fairly busy). I won't address Mike any further, other than to say I must have pressed buttons with him if he has mentioned my blog just recently. I haven't spoken to him for a while, interesting how he singles me out.

Mike said...

I'm flattered. BTW, you're banned from my blog, but I think you probably guessed that. It's a merit system over there, and you tripped up more than once.

Actually, I didn't know. In fact, I don't remember having tried to post more than once. Maybe I did, I dunno. But I certainly haven't tried to post a third time, so I haven't even noticed this banning.

SR, I kind of expect that you're the sort of guy that makes a lot of self-fulling prophecies. Do you have a lot of conversations that run something like,

SR: "You're getting hysterical."
Other: "Um, no I'm not."
SR: "Now you're getting defensive!"
Other: "What are you talking about?"
SR: "You're hysterical and defensive!"
Other: "Shut up! I am not hysterical or defensive!"
SR: "See?"

I expect you do, because pretty much everything you say is geared towards producing the kind of reaction you think your opponents are prone to making.

Cop out, and many of us already know what nihilism entails.

Not once have I ever made an argument about feminism or MRAers that depends on my ideas about nihilism. I said what I said to point out that I am not a feminist; in order to make my point, I don't need to be correct about nihilism. It doesn't matter what I think about nihilism. All that matters to the belief that I'm an ardent defender of feminism is my insistence that my ideas are fundamentally at odds with feminism. The content of my ideas don't matter, and their correctness doesn't matter. In this context.

I must have pressed buttons with him

See what I mean? "You're getting defensive and hysterical!" No, you're the hysterical one. You're good for ironic fun, and nothing else.

KellyMac said...

YAY! I was hoping you'd show up and hand Mike his ass, SR :)

Sociopathic Revelation said...

It's not terribly difficult, Kelly, and with all attention whores, they the can't resist what their own natures impels them to do.

literarycritic said...

... with all attention whores, they the can't resist what their own natures impels them to do.

Um, what? How in the hell is Mike an attention whore? Just for commenting here? You commented here, too. And only when your own blog was mentioned, I might add.

Sociopathic Revelation said...

"And only when your own blog was mentioned, I might add."---LC

It's flamebaiting, LC, and I'm not the one who resorted to it, but I did respond in kind.

Factory said...

Oh for crying out loud! That's right, dismiss an argument based on your need to compartmentalize, label and file away human behaviour. Give me a break, academics....sheesh.

Listen, it's not rocket surgury, if someone identifies themselves as a feminist, they're a freakin' feminist! Where's the nuance I lost you at?

The only reason the other "flavours" of feminism exist is to distance women who dislike a certain aspect of feminism. For instance ..."Oh, I'm not a manhating dyke, those are the Gender feminists...I'm a (insert flavour) feminist. A copout...a way to try YET AGAIN to avoid taking responsibility for one's own actions (or passive acceptance of).

In fact, I'll even go a little further and suggest to you that both your vocabulary in a field in which you obviously have training, and your dismissive attitude belie your intention to limit debate as well (however subconsciously) to the "experts".

I'll tell you what...you go ahead and tell me all about subclassifications of political stripes in the zebra's ass we call society. I'll even use the information to educate myself. But that doesn't make you right in the least. I don't have the regular exposure to studies and such, you know...the stuff the experts use to "prove" stuff?

But, oh, wait....there's entire bureaucracies built on the foundation of academic "studies" that have long since been discredited. You know, turns out if you couch your opinion in sophisticated enough language you intimidate the opponent into thinking he's got no chance.

I know your type. Debate on things is patrolled by people like you - subjected to your approval I would bet. So show me a fallacy, or point out where I'm wrong. I have been wrong lots in the past, I'm emotionally prepared to be wrong again.

The true sign of a good argument is that it can appeal to the masses, meaning it's easy to follow, and understand. The most complex of lessons can be taught to children by memorization, in cute little stories. This is simple fact. But insults and dismissive behaviour only makes it look like you have no real argument at all.

Factory said...

Another typically dismissive argument I hear is the derision of MRA's by saying we "act exactly like the feminist behaviour we despise". That, for one is hilarious, since the vast majority of what could be called the MRA "leadership", namely more visible figures like Glenn Sacks, Marc Rudov, even Warren Farrell have both integrity and guts doing what they do. They condemn whacko behaviour (guy kills wife then self for instance), whereas NOW makes a habit of defending every single high profile murderess (Andrea Yates anyone?) So the argument could very easily be made that this statement is patently false.

Oh right, the blogs, and all those woman hating misogynists complaining about women's behaviour. What bastards! I mean, women NEVER complain about men's behaviour...right? face it, MRA's are saying things that some people just don't want to hear.

And that's the other characteristic of the femi-snob reaction - no actual debate on the issues "whined about", just derision cause they're not "being a man about it" like they're supposed to.

You know, shut up and take it. Well, some guys are mad enough to speak up, and more are every day. Not liking an argument, again, does not deny it validity. Attack the substance, not the facade. Continued denial and derision will not benefit women, not in the slightest. But actual intellectual engagement would benefit all. So what's holding an obvious intellectual star such as yourself up? Is it the fact that this time, you don't get to frame the debate?

Mike said...

Shorter Factory (a): "Use smaller words."

Shorter Factory (b): Umm... sorry, I don't know what the point of your second post is. Could you use smaller words?

And for crying out loud, since when is "liberal democracy" specialized vocabulary?

Caroline said...

I won't deny the appellation of "feminist" towards people I don't agree with, because feminism is vast. I think the word has a right to be "feminism" because equality often means give women the same rights and dignity than men. But, for me, I prefer the word "antisexist", because I am against every single sexist discrimination, when a women is the victim AND when a men is the victim. Antisexist to refuse every single differenciation of treatment based on the person's anatomy.